Un-Patriot Act Renewal

Looks like most of the renewal of the misleadingly-named Patriot Act has passed a House vote, by a small margin. Supposedly this new version of the Act gives greater protections to the civil liberties of suspected terrorists. From the article, looks like it’s pretty weak. No surprise there.

“This legislation is a win for law enforcement, the war on drugs, and for communities and families across America,” Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said in remarks prepared for Wednesday.

Is it really? I’ve failed to hear of a claim that the Patriot Act has been used even once to bring a terrorist to justice. And what does this have to do with the ineptly-executed “war on drugs”? Why are terrorism “protections” being applied to unrelated activities? Sure, you can make the argument that drug trafficking supposedly funds terrorist activities. But you can make that argument about just about anything. It’s a scare tactic used for overly-broad justification, and nothing more.

“Intense congressional and public scrutiny has not produced a single substantiated claim that the Patriot Act has been misused to violate Americans’ civil liberties,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.

Really? What about cases like this one? How is that at all acceptable in civilised society? I found that with a quick search. I’m sure I could find more with minimal effort. Hell, I’ll even take the first step: look through the list yourself.

And how about foreign nationals? Does our way of life suddenly mean nothing when dealing with foreigners? Many people have been imprisoned for years without trial, some without even being accused of anything. Guantanamo Bay, anyone?

It makes me sick. But really, what can I do about it? I feel totally incapable of affecting anything.